Massachusetts governor-elect hires firm to conduct ‘international’ search for MBTA leader

Massachusetts governor-elect hires firm to conduct ‘international’ search for MBTA leader

Massachusetts Gov.-Elect Maura Healey is conducting an international search for the next MBTA general manager.

Executive search firm Krauthamer & Associates was retained to carry out this search, according to a Tuesday statement from Healey and Lt. Gov.-Elect Kim Driscoll.

“K&A will be looking statewide, nationally and internationally to identify strong candidates who have transit and management experience and who understand the urgency of ensuring safety, reliability and accessibility issues across the system,” Healey said.

The Washington, D.C.-based firm has placed hundreds of executives in transit agencies across the country, including through other state contracts in Massachusetts, according to the incoming administration. It serves a diverse client base in North America, Europe and Asia, K&A’s website states.

No timeline was provided for how long the search for a permanent MBTA general manager would be. An interim leader will be appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker when current General Manager Steve Poftak steps down on Jan. 3, two days before Healey is set to take office.

A spokesperson for Baker said there was “no update at this time” regarding the selection for an interim general manager.

“We are working fast but diligently to conduct this search,” said Karissa Hand, a spokesperson for the Healey-Driscoll transition. “In the meantime, we will be working closely with the ( Federal Transit Administration) to continue addressing safety issues.”

The MBTA is working to comply with safety directives issued by the FTA, as part of its months-long investigation that highlighted operational and management failures at the T.

The next general manager will be taking the helm during a difficult time for the agency, but will likely be paid a lucrative salary. Poftak’s salary was $366,250 in 2021, according to the state comptroller’s office.

Healey said the next leader of the MBTA will be “critical for the future of Massachusetts’ transportation system, economy, workforce, housing sector and economic competitiveness,” saying that K&A was best equipped to find the right candidate.

“K&A has a proven track record of hiring strong, qualified and diverse candidates for transit roles in state government,” Driscoll said. “They understand the industry and are uniquely qualified to support this critical search.

“We look forward to engaging with advocates, legislative leaders, labor partners and community members to find the best candidate to move the MBTA and Massachusetts forward.”